Debunking Gluten Myths
A new study has found that you are more likely to be allergic to vegetable and fruit than you are to be to gluten.
Many people are choosing to cut wheat out of their diets because they believe it makes them sick, yet a new study by Dr. Isabel Skypala has found that only 1 percent of the population have a reaction to gluten.
Dr. Isabel Skypala is a teaching fellow at Imperial College London, and her study found around 2 percent of people with food allergies have reactions that are triggered by fresh produce – double the proportion of those who suffer from a gluten allergy.
The condition is little-known, but you may be suffering from Pollen Food Syndrome, which is often triggered by peaches, apples, celery, and carrots, which all contain allergens similar to the one found in birch pollen.
These substances can cause a reaction similar to hayfever in your body, starting with itching in the mouth, and in some extreme cases cause your throat to close up.
Dr. Skypala presented her findings at a talk on food allergies at Cheltenham Science Festival and said:
“Three-quarters of people come to my clinic convinced they have a problem with wheat and dairy and have already cut them out.”
“In fact, allergies linked to fruit and vegetables are far more prevalent. I have seen a man who went into anaphylactic shock after drinking carrot juice.”
“It is raw produce which causes the problem, but people simply have no awareness of this type of allergy, because wheat allergies are seen as so much more fashionable.”
The dietitian, who runs the food allergy clinic at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust, found that out of 3,600 randomly selected patients in the UK, 73 suffer from Pollen Food Syndrome.
Proving that at 2 percent of the population, doubling the proportion of those suffering from coeliac disease, according to totals from Allergy UK.
She then added: “Fruits like apples and cherries and vegetables like celery all contain allergens similar to those found in birch pollen.
“The body reacts to them as it does with hayfever, although people often don’t pick up on the allergy until they get more serious symptoms from nuts, which contain the same proteins.”
Dr. Skypala’s paper on the syndrome has been published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy and warns of a “significant problem” and has the potential to become an “epidemic” in years to come
Previous research has shown, fruit more often cause problems than vegetables. Women are more likely to have the allergy, and often plums and cherries have been found to be among the triggers.
Dr. Skypala said: “For most people, the symptoms are mild, with fruit and vegetables causing itching and swelling in the mouth.
“But for people with asthma, it can lead to problems breathing, and people’s throats can close up completely. This is on the rise because of the link with hayfever, which more people now have, potentially because of pollution and climate change.”
She has called for all patients who believe they may have an allergy to wheat and dairy to rule out other foods first.
She also told people to be careful when they are drinking smoothies, which contain higher levels of fruit and vegetables as they too can trigger symptoms. Her warning comes after a US study found popular gluten-free diets could put people at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes due to a lack of nutrients.
Holly Shaw of Allergy UK said: “Making the connection between pollen allergy (hay fever) and the development of allergic symptoms after the ingestion of particular fruit, vegetables, and less commonly nuts, often in their raw form, is imperative.
“This type of reaction can occur at any time of the year but is often heightened in the pollen season.”